Thursday, March 29, 2012

Will books soon be extinct like the Dinosaurs?

This week for the Thursday blog group, Sara asked us to talk about the following: Books, magazines, paper publications are all available for our perusal now online through the Internet, E-readers, etc. This poses a huge threat for our libraries and book stores. Where do you feel these technological advancements are headed? Will hard copies be a thing of the past? What are your feelings about our print future?

The timing of this topic is timely for me as I've become greatly involved with a Chick Literature blog earlier this year. At first my involvement was simple -- I did behind the scenes social media work for them. Then, I wrote two author tribute posts for them in January and February (respectively). Since then, my involvement has grown and I'm now in the process of writing my first book review for them. Normally my preference is to obtain a MP3 copy of the audiobook as it accommodates my reading comprehension disability, however since I am receiving advance reading copies of some of these books I don't have a choice as to he format I get them -- actual book vs. MP3 vs. e-book.

As much as I appreciate my MP3 audiobooks, I really do enjoy holding physical copies of books, magazines, newspapers. (Maybe it has to do with the way I was brought up... I mean back in the "dark ages" -- otherwise known as when I was a kid -- there were no e-readers or MP3 players.) There were books on tape, but I think it's a safe guess to say that form of books wasn't the main way people read books.


Another reason I like books has to do with my love of attending book signings. This infatuation started almost four years ago when I attended one for Emily Giffin. I'll even admit to buying the hard cover book of a novel I already had on MP3 just so I could have an autographed copy for posterity sake. If I had to articulate why I like having an autographed copy of a book I'd have to say it's because it like a souvenir of that event. Getting to learn more about them, their writing process, etc. makes for a great evening. And then, afterwards you get to speak with them, even though it's brief is really awesome! (Yes, I am a special kind of groupie.) What would authors sign if technology took the place of book? I can't imagine an electronic signature would means as much.

In all fairness, recently I've been in the process of deciding the configuration of the tablet I'm going to purchase of my e-reading needs. (Yes, I do have e-books. Not many, but I do have them.) In addition to reading e-books, I also plan to use my tablet for knitting patterns. I rarely ever print out patterns because I try to be green whenever I can, however schlepping around my laptop is a drag too. In this regard, I see an e-reader as useful tool.

Only time will tell if electronic means of communications will make books, magazine and newspapers extinct. I hope it doesn't, but something tells me I'm in the midst of denial because at the end of the day it's not about why I love the printed word on paper, it's about something that has become a part of our lives -- and is here stay.

Now that I've shared my thought on the fate of books, magazines and newspapers, please take a moment to read what my fellow bloggers have to say:


Merryland Girl (Melissa)

Momarock (Sara)

Mom of Many (Susanna)

Friday, March 23, 2012

52 Weeks Later

This week's Thursday blog group post is a BIG DEAL to me.

Back in 2010, Melissa and I, along with two others started a Thursday blog post project. It went for several months, but eventually died out. Then, in early 2011 I began to talk to Melissa about resurrecting it. We both agree it would be fun, but knew the original members wouldn't be joining us this time around. So, we began to discuss who would could manipulate... persuade... invite to join us this time around. I had suggested two friends, S and other individual. While I had no doubt S was totally on board with doing this, I had concerns about my other friend even though they said they wanted to do it. As fate would have it, when it was time to get our act together and "pull the trigger" my other friend did in fact flake. That's when Melissa invited Sara to join the group. (I'm glad things worked out this way because I wouldn't have otherwise gotten to know Sara.)

That was a year ago. So, in honor of this being the group's 1st birthday, I asked everyone to: Either rewrite a post from the past year that you weren't 100% happy with and wish you had a second chance at OR Write about your thought on the past year of this project.

It's hard for me to believe that it has been a year since the resurrection of the project took place. When we made it past the six month mark I was THRILLED because it meant that we had been able to maintain the project longer than the first time around.

Overall, I haven't been closely tracking how long we've been doing this project which I like. It's just something that makes up my a component of life, and I like that that is the case. Even if I don't blog during the week, I know I'll at least post something for this blog group. I also look forward to Thursdays because I enjoy seeing what everyone has to say about the topic for that week.

Another thing I've enjoyed is getting to know everyone through their posts. Like I mentioned above, I didn't know Sara before this project, however I did know Melissa and Susanna. Despite that fact, I still feel like I learn new things about them each week. (This is kind of surprising especially when it comes to Melissa since we've known each other FOREVER!) I feel we're a tight-knit group despite our geographic locations.

The topics have challenged me on many different levels. There have been some topics that have touched sensitive matters in my life and I've had to challenge myself to post about them even if I wasn't thrilled about it. The topics have forced me to be honest with myself about various things in my life which has helped me grow in so many ways I can't even begin to list them. There have been topics that have got me thinking about things going on in the world that I would not have known about otherwise. There have even been topics I've proposed that I later to go write about and think, "What the hell was I thinking?"

Lastly, this milestone is BIG for me because it's cool to see something go from "just an idea" to something real. Also, soon, I'll be taking this idea to another blog I'm associated with and seeing if it can be tweaked to fit that platform.

I look forward to the next year of this project. I hope it doesn't burn out before then! With life being ever changing and the world around us changing as well, I can't see us running out of things to write about.

A HUGE thank you to Melissa, Sara and Susanna for making this project a HUGE success.

Cheers!!!




Merryland Girl (Melissa)

Momarock (Sara)

Mom of Many (Susanna)

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Wordy Wednesday: "A Day in the Internet"

I've found a few graphic like the one below, but since this is the most recent I'm viewing it has the honor of gracing this week's "Wordy Wednesday" post. I have to admit even though I'm not surprised by what this graphic has to say, it's a lot to wrap your head around if you really try to conceptualize it . . .


A Day in the Internet
Created by: MBA Online

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

No one died. . . and there was beer too!

Saturday I participated in my first 5K race since October.

During the week leading up to the race I was convinced I was going to die in the process of completing this race. So sure that I even e-mailed BFF the day before to let her know that it's been lovely knowing her. Now I admit that was a bit on the dramatic side, but my training that week had been so craptastic that I was SURE either I was going to die or come in last. Since I'm uber competitive against myself either option seemed like the end of the world (especially considering one of the two literally would have been the end for me.)

As you might have figured out by now, I did not die as I'm writing this post right now. (Though if there is an after life and they have internet in that after life it is in fact possible I could be dead.... however, I assure you, I'm not dead.)

Also, I can confirm I didn't come in last either -- I actually came in second to last.... ok, that's not true. It did, however, feel like I was going to die or come in last. By the end of the race my feet were burning and my shins massively hurt me. I kept reminding myself of the three goals I had for this race:

1) DON'T DIE!

2) Don't get sick in any way, shape or form. (S calls this "don't poop in your pants", but I can't bring myself to say that publicly. (BTW - there was a guy in the crowds at the race with a sign that said "Don't Poop". I laughed, thought of S (who was somewhere WAY in front of me) and tried to take a picture of it but was unsuccessful.)

3) Finish the race.

The 4th goal -- minimize run time -- is the icing on the cake goal.

The race Saturday was different for me in the there were over 2,000 people participating. It was the first time that I had to think about not getting trampled. I didn't list "Don't get trampled" as one of my goals because I feel that gets lumped in there with goals one and two. That said, it was still something to have in the back of my brain especially when you take into account that not getting trampled means managing how you pass people was well as expecting that others may in fact slightly touch your body as they wiz right by you. (Have I ever mentioned I'm very particular about who is allowed into my personal space?)

Before even hitting the first mile marker I saw some kid with a TCU t-shirt on. Had I not cared about my time I would have totally gone over and asked why the TCU t-shirt... I mean, in Ft. Worth seeing such a sight is common, however I don't live in Ft. Worth anymore so seeing someone wearing TCU gear is just as rare as seeing an actual Horned Frog.

When I saw the time on the one mile mark clock, I my spirit died a little inside -- it said something like "16/17" minutes. I knew it had taken us awhile to get to the actually start line, but I didn't really know how long to subtract from that number. So, as you might imagine, when I made it to the second mile marker and it was about 13 minutes later I was a bit surprised. I could have sworn I went slower during the second mile

The course for this race was a bit deceiving. If you hadn't studied the course prior to the race, one could have easily believed that it was simply running up one street and back down it to the finish line, but considering the first mile marker was barely after the spot where we turned around there was no way that could be the case. Instead, the course was a bit of a zig-zag rather than the loop I was use to making. I was kind of thankful for this as it gave me a better lay of land. The race was in downtown Naperville, IL. An area I frequent on many occasion, however for some reason I don't feel 100% confident in the layout of the area. I know how to get to my favorite bookstore and cookie dough shop (sorta... I never really knew the name of the street it was on.) I never realized that one of my favorite restaurants was just down the street from another restaurants I've been to a few times. This folks, was how I spent mile 2 and 3... mapping out some of my favorite digs in this town. (Now I should never be lost again in this area -- at least in theory.)

When all was said and done I completed the race in a fairly respectable time -- 41:13 -- which is only 16 second more per a mile than the 5 mile race I completed on Thanksgiving. Our reward for completing the race was green beads and a party. There was music, food and of course since it was St. Paddy's Day . . .

Green Beer!!!


Yeah, I probably shouldn't have been drinking that after just running a race in warmish temperatures, but it was a celebration (and I had two cups of water afterwards to make sure I didn't get dehydrated!)

So, my first of 12 races is complete. There are 11 more to go; two of which I'm already registered for. (Actually one of the two is a 10K, but that's a whole separate topic that I can write about another time.)

I'll be interested to see how the remainder of the races go and what type of progress I make.

Until then, Happy Running!

Friday, March 16, 2012

What I do when

This week for the Thursday (really Friday for me this week) project, Susanna asked us to fill in the blank on this statement: When the going gets tough the tough ______? (What do you do when things are out of control to make yourself feel better?)

This is a long, yet short, answer. It really depends on what exactly is going on and the magnitude of what is going on. So, when the going gets tough the tough:

• Go running

• Knit

• Go to a yarn shop to pet yarn

• Melt (a.k.a. cry)

• Go to my happy place to reflect. (The exact location varies depending on where I am at the time -- there are several city locations depending on where in the city I am at the time, a place around the area I live, etc.)

In the end, I always end up resolving everything or making peace with what is happening so things can go back to ... ummm ... normal (if there is such a thing).


Please take a moment to see what my fellow bloggers have to say on this topic:


Mom of Many (Susanna)

Merryland Girl (Melissa)

Momarock (Sara)

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Wordy Wednesday: Pi Day

I haven't always embraced my inner geek.

For a few years there I tried being more cool than I actually am. Then, a few years ago I stopped. Instead, I appreciate the things that make me "silly", "dorky" and "geeky". I feel more like me this way.

As a result of this, I have a lot of friends who would are self-proclaimed "nerds" and "geeks".... it's part of the reason I love them so much.

So with that in mind, I wish you too, a...


Happy


Day!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

These People Changed My Life

This week, Melissa asked the ladies of the Thursday Blog Group to discuss: What is something you did that changed someone else's life?

In the true spirit of who I am, rather than focus on what I've done for others I'm taking a creative license on this post and writing about what others have done for me . . .

(Please note: I hate singling people out, but right now I feel the need to thank these two specific individuals.)

S:

If there was ever an event that made me believe something good could in fact come from something bad, it's my chance meeting and connection to S.

The first time I ever met S, it came out rather quickly that we were connected through a past life of mine; however, that was just one of many catalysts that helped us meet, not the foundation that supports our friendship now.

I honestly wouldn't know where to begin when it comes to thanking S for all she has done for me. (Seriously!) So, I will point out that she helped make my current place of residence "HOME"(!)

When I first moved to the place I live now, I struggled with feeling at home. It was a place I was pretty familiar with, but it wasn't as comfortable as I would have liked it to be. Before S, the person I would have had to called about an emergency lived a good 30 miles away from me . . . yeah, that really wouldn't have helped when my toe wouldn't stop bleeding and I needed to go to the emergency room. (Honestly, I would have driven myself had the toe I cut not been on the foot I use to drive!)

In the big picture, helping to make where I live home may seem minute; however, at the time it was HUGE for me because I was at a point where I was second guessing where I had chosen to live and contemplating where I was going to go next -- if I were to move. Now, when I think about moving to a different area I get sad because I know I won't be as close to S, and fam. I realize there are tons of way we can communicate, but it surely doesn't replace that part of "home" as far as I'm concerned.



PT:

Around this time last year, I would have never thought I would be listing PT as someone I wanted to thank for changing my life. Simply put, PT did something that hurt my feelings and upset me and around this time last year, I was just getting over being pissed about the whole situation.

Now when I look back on all that happened, I think in some way he partially did what he did because he knew at the time (more than I did) what I needed, and he cared enough about me to do what needed to be done. (I mean I realize there were other things involved, but I think this was one of the things that factored into what happened.)

Whatever the driving force of his decision was, had he not acted in the way he did, when he did, I don't know if I would have ever put together project "life map". Seriously... I put it together about a week after everything happened which I don't believe to be a coincidence. This "silly" (that's what I use to call it when I first started telling others about my "plans") project ended up not being so silly after all. Actually, it ended up making a HUGE impact in my life which eventually led me back to the person I always knew I was, but didn't feel like inside at the time.

I'll never really know if I would have taken this approach to what was going on in my life had PT not done what he did, however knowing what I know about that time in my life I highly doubt I would have.


In both these case, I would have never anticipated these people to have had such a significant impact on my life in the ways they did. When I first met each of them, I felt as though they would be good friends, but over time I have come to really recognize the important role they have played in my life.

I hold both of them in such high regards which is why it pleases me that both S and PT are still a part of my life. With some luck, this will continue to be as long as I'm alive.


Now that I've shared my spin on this week's Thursday Blog topic, please take a moment to read what my fellow bloggers have to say:

Merryland Girl (Melissa)

Momarock (Sara)

Mom of Many (Susanna)

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Back in the Game

Today I got back to training for 5k races.

The last race I ran was a 5 mile race on Thanksgiving. I hadn't planned on running any races on Thanksgiving let alone a 5 mile race, however I randomly heard about a local Turkey Trot and decided to check it out. (This is a word of mouth kind of thing, so I figured it was fate that I had found out about it and thus I was meant to participate in this race.)

I had a lot of fun; especially considering the fact that I really hadn't run much in the weeks following my first 5k in October. Also, I didn't die during the race which is the main goal both S and I strive for in each and every race we participate in. (Unlike a lot of runners, we consider an improved time a bonus.)

I continued to run on a regular basis after Thanksgiving, but mainly due to the LSAT looming ahead - I needed a way to blow-off the extra energy the anticipation of the exam had given me. After that came and went, I took a self-imposed hiatus from running, and exercise as well. Simply put, I had pushed myself so hard in 2011 that I knew I needed to take things easy for awhile... so that's what I did!

What I didn't anticipate was how hard it would be to get back into the swing of things once 2012 came around. Honestly, it was really difficult even though I being sedentary for just a few weeks was killing me. (Never thought I'd say that...) With temperatures being what they were, I did a lot of running at the gym. This wasn't ideal as my gym doesn't have a track, but beggars can't be choosers and I just wanted to start running again. As I mentioned above, it was difficult to get back into the swing of things, and I have to admit I had a lot of false starts. Either I'd be busy with other things, or make-up an excuse not to go.

Somewhere in February I started realizing it was time to get serious. I still wanted to accomplish my goal of running 12 races in 2012 and sitting around wasn't going to help me towards reaching that goal. Still it was difficult to get my butt in gear and I wavered on this "silly" goal of mine. At one point I even considered giving it up.

Today it was absolutely beautiful... 64 degrees and sunny. I think that is what finally woke-up the part of me that loves running so much and got me going... It told me I would have been a fool to pass up a chance to run in such amazing weather (especially considering it is the middle of March). So, despite some reluctance, I got back to running outside and enjoyed the Spring-like weather.

It was a tough run. I'm not going to sugar coat it. However, if memory serves me right the first time I ran outside last Fall wasn't so fantastic either. (Running outside and running on a treadmill are two totally different experiences.) I didn't get a fabulous time today, but I survived my run -- I didn't die.

I don't anticipate my next race to be a fabulous time either. It's very soon and I can't imagine I'll be back in shape enough to perform like I did in my first race. Honestly, I just want to complete the race (without dying). If I get a respectable time, than that's even than much better.

Today's run did a lot for me. It made me realize how much I missed not only being active, but more specifically running. It gave me the kick in the ass to start seriously training again. And, despite the fact that it was tough, it pumped me up so much that I even started to identify races taking place this year so I will in fact achieve my goal of 12 races in 2012.... Hell, maybe I'll even go for a knitters dozen (14).

Whatever I decide, I know one thing for sure -- I'm back in the game!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Gender Neutral

I've tried writing this Thursday blog project post a few times, but without much luck. I wasn't going to even write anything because of this fact, however I changed my mind today. To not do so because I didn't have much to say the about the topic Sara (Momarock) picked. The topic was to read this article about some parents who decided not to reveal their child's gender until recently because they didn't want the stigma of being a gender to effect their child.

Here are my few thoughts on the article:

• My first thought is that it is bizarre what they were doing.

• Whether or not these parents dress their child in clothes for both genders or let them play with boy and girls toys, this child will develop the interests they were meant to have; it's just a matter or time. I'm a firm believer you can't force anyone to be something they are not.

• Additionally, I suspect the fact that they were trying to make this child "gender neutral" has, or will have, its own effects on the child just as defining their gender would have.

• Also, I think hiding this child's gender will just draw more attention to them because people will always be guessing what gender they are -- does anyone remember "Pat" from Saturday Night Live?

Personally I wouldn't want people always questioning me what gender my child is, and as much as someone would like to think people would respect them enough not to ask, reality is people will ask. There are strangers out there that aren't shy about asking these types of things.

• What is so horrible with letting a boy be a boy; or letting a girl be a girl?

These are some of my thought on this article. Please take a moment to read what my other bloggers have to say:


Momarock (Sara)

Merryland Girl (Melissa)

Mom of Many (Susanna)


PS... My apologies to my group members.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

With Love Always XOXO, Shirley

It's the first of March and I have a very special birthday in mind today.

For some reason I've always felt weird about recognizing this birthday as the person hasn't been with us for over 22 years, however I imagine anyone who has a deceased parent they hold dear to their heart would feel the same as I do today.

I'm talking about my dad. Today is my dad's birthday. He would have been . . . well, let's just say the number is "up there."

I love that my dad was born on March 1st. I'm not sure why, but I just do. Maybe it's because a lot of my family members were born on holidays, and then there is my dad... randomly... on March 1st -- no where close to any sort of holiday (unless you count leap day, but it wasn't even leap year the year he was born so that really doesn't count... does it?!)

Anyhow, I will never apologize for my sentimental ways when it comes to my dad. He was special to me, and I love the fact that I embody so many of his qualities (even the not so great ones). I think it's especially fitting and special that this is the case because I was his only girl. I'm the girl he "didn't know how to raise" because "he only knew how to raise boys." Personally, I think he didn't do a half bad job raising me while he was around.

I will always think of my dad when I see "Wheel of Fortune" and "M*A*S*H". As I've been planning which Cubs games I'm going to attend at Wrigley Field this year, I've thought of my dad's stories about ditching school and going to Wrigley Field to watch a game, instead. Whenever I forget to turn off a light at home because I'm not in that room, I think of my dad and how he use to tell me that "we didn't own the Edison company and I needed to turn off the lights when I left a room" every time I left the light on in my bedroom. (As an adult I SO get why he said that and it explains A LOT about the way I control the lighting in my own home today.)

My dad taught me about having a solid work ethic and caring for your family. He was funny and made not only me, but many others smile. I've said this many times that he is the only person who knew how to make me disappear -- thankfully, he also knew how to make me reappear again, and wanted me to reappear.

Often I wish my dad could see me now, as an adult. I wonder if he would be proud of who I have become, and the life I have made for myself


While talking about my dad's upcoming birthday, and if it is normal to recognize it, with S the other day I got the idea to mark the occasion with cake in his honor. (She does the does this on her dad's birthday.) Since I love cupcakes, I got those instead of a normal cake. (Dad would have wanted me to have something I enjoyed.) Since he loved apple pie (just like I do), I bought two specialty cupcakes from a local cupcake shop -- Apple Cobbler and Carmel Apple. (I couldn't decide between the two, so I figured I'd get both... my dad would have wanted it that way.)


(I've only tried the Carmel Apple thus far (left). Simply put, "DELICIOUS"... is an understatement.)

As I've indulged in this treat, I've recalled the sweetness of my dad's life. I've thought of all the lives he touched outside of our "special" family unit. I've put in the back of my mind all the bad and ugly stuff I've learned about him over the years. (Don't get me wrong, I've wanted to learn these things as well, but today is not the day to remember them. Honestly, I don't think of them often when I think of my dad. I believe the important part about loving your family is that you unconditionally love -- good, bad, ugly. But, like I said, today I put that in farther in the back of my mind and just remember the good.) I've done what birthday's are all about -- celebrating ones life. And, as long as I'm around, my dad will not be forgotten. (Nor will his birthday.)

Thank you for allowing me to be sentimental today. It means a lot to me.